Virtual Travel – North Carolina

Welcome to North Carolina – or as I often heard it referenced when I lived there North Cackalacky. This was one of those expressions I never understood why, but this virtual travel posting research has taught me new, if irrelevant, information.

Apparently that term that started in the 1960s by soldiers who were sent to army bases in the state, and was used in a somewhat derogatory manner. The Carolina folks however have somewhat embraced the term to the point one person has started a barbecue sauce called Cackalacky.

2016 11 09 12 Poplar Branch NC Monster Truck Ranch

 

Speaking of barbecue, Carolina’s is the best! But even in North Carolina there is debate about which barbecue is best – Eastern (coastal) or Western/Lexington/Piedmont.

The Eastern style is more vinegar based whereas the Western is tomato based.

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Carolina heaven –  where’s the sweet tea.

Hursey's BBQ Mebane NC 3 - Patrick's BBQ Trail

 

Ironically barbecue is not the official North Carolina state food, as they have none. They do however have 50 state symbols!

State Art Medium – Clay

 

State Carnivorous Plant – Venus Flytrap. Native only to a small area around Wilmington, North Carolina, it is now cultivated worldwide.

 

State Dog – Plott Hound

 

State Dance – Clogging

 

Historic Places

1951 – State Capitol     1974 – Tryon Palace     1988 – Three Presidents Statue     2000 – Old Salem Pedestrian Bridge      2003 – Wright Brothers     2004 – Greensboro’s Douglas Galyon Depot     2006 – Doc Watson Highway

 

 

The North Carolina State Capitol is in Raleigh. This building dates from 1833, and was saved from General Sherman’s march in the Civil War by the governor of the time, Zebulon Vance, sending a peace delegation to negotiate with Sherman. Legend has it that Raleigh is the only southern city that Sherman came across that wasn’t heavily damaged, although part of it was it was right as the peace treaty as ready to be signed.

2016 11 10 58 Raleigh NC State Capital & Museums

 

The area around Raleigh has had tremendous growth in the last few decades thanks to Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the United States.

The name, and drivers, behind RTP are the three major universities in the area, University of North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State University.

It was created in 1959, and has grown steadily ever since, with over 60,000 people now working there for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Cisco and the National Institute of Health.

The state government areas in the middle of the city are home not only to the capitol and legislature buildings, but numerous museums.

 

 

 

One of the most famous locations in the state is located along the coast at Kitty Hawk. It was here in 1903 that Orville and Wilbur Wright came down from Ohio to escape the cold and test their invention, the airplane.

The site is a National Historic Site, with a full scale sculpture of the plane, as well as markers detailing those first 4 fledgling flights.

2016 11 09 48 Kill Devil Hills NC Wright Brothers Memorial

 

 

 

From the Ocean to the Mountains

1958 – Beach     1977 – Lake Norman     1988 – Wrightsville Beach     1990 – Coastal Carolina

 

 

North Carolina stretches for 500 miles inland from the ocean to the Appalachian Mountains. One of the nicer mountain regions is at Stone Mountain State Park (not to be confused with the one in Georgia with confederate soldiers carved on it).

 

 

The Outer Banks of North Carolina has some of the finest beaches in the country, along with giant sand dunes, and an apparent bulls eye for hurricanes to aim for.

2016 11 09 106 Kitty Hawk NC

 

 

1967 – Blue Ridge Parkway     1972 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park     1982 – Joyce Killmer Forest     1996 – Blue Ridge Parkway     2002 – Cascade Falls Hanging Rock State Park     2007 – Collage     2015 – Blue Ridge Parkway

 

 

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the country’s longest park, running for 429 miles along the tops of the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia through North Carolina.

It’s most famous spot is the viaduct at Linn Cove on Grandfather Mountain, featured on two of the maps above. (photos below from various internet sites)

 

 

1973 – Lake Norman     2011 – Wild Flowers     2013 – Outer Banks

 

Eastern North Carolina has a number of picturesque towns, including Edenton. In the mid 1600s settlers from Jamestown came inland and founded Edenton Colony, making it the first European settlement in North Carolina.

The town served briefly as the North Carolina capital.

2016 11 10 8 Edenton NC

 

 

1986 – White Water Rafting     1995 – North Carolina Zoological Park     2001 – Airborne & Special Operations Museum     2005 – Pinehurst

The central North Carolina area has a number of cool places to visit including a restored ‘Clamshell’ Shell station in Winston- Salem.

Durham has two classic baseball stadiums; the older one was featured in the movie Bull Durham, and continues to this day to host college games, while the newer stadium is now home to the Durham Bulls.

Seemingly misplaced, the NHL has a team located in Raleigh.

 

 

Near the Virginia border is the home of ‘Grave Digger’, monster truck extraordinaire.

 

 

 

At the other end of the state, on the South Carolina border is Charlotte, the states largest city. It is a fast growing city, and financial headquarters to numerous banks. (Photos from Wikipedia)

From top to bottom, left to right: Charlotte skyline, UNC Charlotte, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium, Romare Bearden Park

 

 

In the far western edge of the state is Asheville, a bastion of blue in a sea of red in the mountains. Asheville is an artist center. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Asheville at dusk.jpg

 

 

 

Lastly we visit Mount Airy – aka Mayberry. This small northeastern North Carolina town was the home of an actor named Andy Griffith, who starred in a 1960s TV show where he was a small town sheriff in Mayberry. It was based on his hometown, and to this date they live off of that reputation. (photo from Wikipedia).

11 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Mount Airy, NC | PlanetWare

 

 

By y’all for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina Mountains – Late Fall 2016 Road Trip – Day 8

After breakfast at the Hampton Inn, we went to see the Durham Athletic Park, an old baseball stadium, built in 1926. This park is most famous from the movie Bull Durham.

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The park was originally called El Toro Park, built to support the small Carolina League crowds that arrived. When the movie came out the team became so popular they ended up building a new stadium on the south edge of downtown Durham, however this park remained as a college stadium.

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The new park, Durham Bulls Athletic Park, was built to reflect many characteristics of old-time parks and the historic downtown Durham architecture. A 32-foot-high wall stands in left field 305 feet from home plate, resembling Fenway Park’s Green Monster. The Blue Monster, as it’s called in Durham, contains a similar old-style manual scoreboard.

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The ballpark’s most distinctive feature is the Snorting Bull that stands tall above the Blue Monster. This Bull was modeled after the bull used in the 1988 film, Bull Durham. The 10,000-seat ballpark is tucked into a warehouse district similar to Camden Yards and the red-brick architecture compliments the view from the ball park diamond.

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Being in this ballpark brought back good memories of the times when we attended baseball games with our daughters twenty years ago. The new ballpark added features more similar to a major league team level with a grand concourse.

2016 11 11 17 Durham NC.jpg

 

On the drive to Winston-Salem, we saw political signs for Dan Forest running for the position of Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina. He used a catchy phrase from the movie Forest Gump “Run Forest Run” that worked perfectly for him since his last name is Forest. Voters must have remembered that phrase on Election Day by re-electing him for another term.

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On Sprague Street in Winston-Salem is a unique Shell gas station built in the shape of a clamshell and painted bright gold with red trim. This architecture gem was built the in the 1930’s by the Quality Oil Company, a Winston-based marketer of Shell Oil. The station, modeled on the brand logo of Royal Dutch-Shell Oil, was constructed of concrete stucco over a bent wood and wire framework. Two glass-top gas pumps painted in matching colors were placed in front of the shell.

Though the station fell into disrepair toward the end of the 20th century; a state historic society, Preservation North Carolina, stepped in and restored the highway icon in the late 1990s. According to the fliers for the station, it is likely that this landmark is the last clamshell gas station in the country. Today it’s used by the preservation organization as a regional office and info center about the station and other preservation projects.

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It is Veteran’s Day today, and true to life in the south this time of year the temperature has warmed from a frosty cold into a sunny sixty degrees. It was a good day to visit Stone Mountain Park in Roaring Gap, North Carolina. The centerpiece of the park is Stone Mountain, a dome of exposed granite that rises sharply over 600 feet above the surrounding terrain.

The mountain, which has an elevation of 2,305 feet above sea level, is known for its barren sides and distinctive brown-gray color, and can be seen for miles. Because the mountain is the best example of a monadnock in massive granite in North Carolina it was designated a National Natural Landmark. Monadnock is originally a Native American term for an isolated hill or a lone mountain that stands above the surrounding area. It is thought to derive from the Abenaki language, from either menonadenak (“smooth mountain”) or menadena (“isolated mountain”) but here monadnock is used to describe a mountain that rises from an area of relatively flat and lower terrain.

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There are more than 18 miles of trails in the park. We started on a trail from the upper lot that looped up to the top of the massive granite rock and then down to the opposite side. The trail led us up in elevation and down about one thousand steps completing more than five miles. The summit of the rock gave us a terrific view of colorful leaves of the trees, wild rhododendrons, and faded ridges in the distance.

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The smooth rock looked slick and solid but at points short trees seemed to grow straight from the rock without any soil. We sat for a bit to rest and enjoy the view while some young adults piloted a remote monster car over the rocky landscape and on the trail.  We climbed down nearly five hundred steps through the wooded side of the trail until we reached the meadow at the foot of the great stone. The barren face of the rock was clear to us from where we sat in the meadow.

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The trail directed us to a 200-foot waterfall that slid over the rock into a small creek. We nearly stepped on a small black snake as we trudged on the trail that took us up three hundred more steps to finish the trail. Our hike was completed in four hours with only brief stops and it felt great.

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Leaving the park, we hopped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway in the direction of Boone, North Carolina. It was slightly cloudy as we drove on the Parkway so that the Blue Ridge Mountains appeared dark and the ridge behind it seemed a faded smoky blue. Fog hovered low in some areas separating the colors of the field and the mountains for a really beautiful scene. As we rose in elevation closer to Boone, the trees were less colorful and began to drop their leaves.

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Boone, North Carolina is home to Appalachian State University and also the location of our hotel for the night, the Courtyard Marriott. We had a physical day and were hungry so we hurried across the street from our hotel to eat at the Stagecoach Steakhouse. Our table was surrounded by many military veterans who came to get their free dinner by courtesy of the restaurant owners honoring those who served our country. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel physically tired from our busy day.